Vianne the clown

Vianne Timmons.

The recent actions of Memorial University of Newfoundland President Vianne Timmons to double tuition fees, spend over $50K on renovating her office, and her order for staff to tear down tuition protest posters have led many people to call her a clown.

The most recent comment is by Kelly Smith, who states, “Respectful debate? For what? So, you can ‘respectfully’ abuse your power and spend thousands more dollars to make your office prettier? While people are struggling to afford tuition you’re about to increase? VT, you’re a clown. 🤡”

Smith was referring to Vianne’s justification for taking down the posters because they were not of a respectful nature.

Matt Barter is a fourth-year student in the Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty at Memorial University of Newfoundland, majoring in Political Science with a minor in Sociology. He enjoys reading thought-provoking articles, walks in nature, and volunteering in the community.

On The Go with Ted Blades featuring MUN student Matt Barter and president Vianne Timmons

Ted Blades, Matt Barter, and Vianne Timmons.

On September 16th, 2021, Memorial University of Newfoundland President Vianne Timmons finally answered media requests after ignoring them for a week. Timmons took part in a segment on CBC Ted Blades’s show “On The Go.” CBC titled the episode “Free speech has limits at Memorial University,” and their description states, “MUN president Vianne Timmons tells us why a student’s posters were torn down.” Below is a transcript of the episode:

Ted Blades: Our first interview today is a follow-up to a story we brought you last week. The story started when Matt Barter, who’s a fourth-year student at Memorial, went around the St. John’s Campus putting up posters calling on MUN’s President Vianne Timmons to resign because she approved recent tuition hikes at Memorial. Shortly after the posters went up, Mr. Barter recorded some cellphone video of a university staff member tearing those posters down. He sent it to us. Here’s a bit of that audio:

Staff member: Please turn your camera off, or I’ll have security here right now.

Matt Barter: Why are you taking down posters?

Staff member: I’m on the phone with security, so they’ll be here.

TB: Well, Matt Barter told us that tearing down those posters violates his freedom of speech, and here’s a brief excerpt from an interview last week.

MB: What I’ve been told is that the MUN maintenance staff been told by their supervisors, who’s been told by the higher-ups, that there’s not allowed to be any political posters up at MUN. Some people may consider it political; some people may not consider it political, but my biggest issue with it is freedom of expression. Students should be allowed to put up posters about causes that they believe in.

TB: And we tried to get an interview with the President of Memorial University to respond to Mr. Barter’s concerns. We weren’t able to make that happen until now. Vianne Timmons is on the line. Good afternoon, ma’am.

Vianne Timmons: Hello, how are you, Ted?

TB: Not too bad. So, tell me, why did university staff tear those posters down?

VT: So, the posters were taken down because we have a respectful workplace policy. And if there were posters on our campus that faculty, staff, or students felt were offensive and made them feel uncomfortable in the workplace, I would ask them to be taken down, and so as you know, I think Ted, I don’t know if we’ve chatted, but you know that myself and the Provost have had some pretty nasty social media attacks and I decided that we are a respectful workplace on this campus and I wanted to make a statement that this was an important place where everyone needed to feel welcome and part of our community.

TB: So, were you involved in the decision? Who gave the order to take the posters down?

VT: I did.

TB: You did?

VT: Yes, I did.

TB: Now, some people listening to us would say that this is not a dispute between equals, that you’re in a position of power and that you shouldn’t be bothered let lone offended by a student who’s passionate about his views on tuition. What would you say to them?

VT: I would say absolutely students who are passionate about their views on tuition should protest. They should put posters up, and I would encourage, and I have I spoke to the student union and said I absolutely support posters or protests, but I don’t support personal attacks or personalizing an issue. We’re a university we need to model respectful debate, respectful discussions; we need to honor differing views, but that doesn’t mean you personalize something, and so I had many phone calls from students, from our community, upset about the posters and you know I waited and then I thought I wouldn’t allow a poster to be up for a faculty, a staff, or a student that attacked them or was personal to them, and so I wanted to make a statement that I will honor our respectful workplace policy and that is critical here. So, you know the tuition increase is a university policy, it’s not a personal decision, and so it’s important that our community feels comfortable at the place of work.

TB: So, if he said the decision to raise is wrong or it needs to be reversed, they will still be there? Because he said that you need to resign, you ordered them down?

VT: Absolutely, if there were posters up that were not personal and that were issue-focused and that were respectful, that would be fine.

TB: I can’t help but wonder whether some of this is personal on another level because I know that back in February of 2020, Matt Barter got a lot of media attention when he was complaining quite loudly about your compensation package.

VT: Absolutely not. We have a respectful workplace policy. My job as a president and as a leader on this campus is to role model and honor that, and that is what I do and will continue to do. I’ve spoken to the student union about it and had a wonderful discussion with them. They recognized the importance of being able to have a voice, and I encourage that.

TB: You said you had many students contact you upset about the poster. Roughly, how many?

VT: I had students contact me, faculty and staff contact me. Probably total, there would have been over 20 people who contacted me about the posters.

TB: Alright, so you told us that posters that personalize an issue aren’t allowed up; how do you describe, how does the university describe, the limits of free speech on campus then?

VT: I encourage free speech. I encourage respectful debate. I encourage having different views. But a university campus is a place where we’re a teaching institution, we need to teach our students and work with our students to show how to do that respectfully and how to do it where people are voices are able to be welcomed and supported and that when people walk around campus, it’s not a place where somebody is targeted personally, and that is an important thing for a university. Of all of the places, this is a place where we absolutely encourage free speech. We encourage respectful debate. We encourage different opinions. That is what a university does.

TB: If someone’s sense of free speech, including Mr. Barter’s, is that you should resign. What’s the format for expressing that kind of free speech?

VT: Absolutely, send me a note to tell me that I should resign, and that is fine but to put posters with someone’s face all over the campus with the word “resign” on it, if that was a faculty member, if there was a poster of a student with, you know, a “get out of here” or a “quit school,” we wouldn’t allow that to be up. If there was a poster of a student plastered all over our campus with, you know, “quit” school, we would take it down. That student should not have to walk around campus and face that in the corridor or on the polls. That is not acceptable, nor would I allow it for a faculty member or a staff member. Everybody on this campus should feel that when they walk around this campus, they shouldn’t face something that makes them feel personally attacked, and so I’m role modeling what I would expect to do for others.

TB: So, your bottom line here is, and I don’t have to put words in your mouth because I think you’ve already said it is that group of people who should feel safe to walk around without being personally attacked includes you?

VT: Yes, and you know for me to do is a statement as much as getting those posters down because it’s me, it’s a statement to my community here that I’m going to stand up, and I will fight for each and every one of them. And I want them to feel safe and know that we will honor our respectful workplace policy as we should.

TB: Alright, we’ll leave it here for today. I want to thank you for your time.

VT: Thank you, Ted. Thank you very much.

TB: That is Vianne Timmons, she is President of Memorial University. Well, what do you make of her explanation?

Matt Barter is a fourth-year student in the Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty at Memorial University of Newfoundland, majoring in Political Science with a minor in Sociology. He enjoys reading thought-provoking articles, walks in nature, and volunteering in the community.

Moldy drywall falls on MUN student for weeks in class

MUN student Kyle Kinsella in MUN’s Education Building.

Kyle Kinsella recently made a post on Facebook on Memorial University of Newfoundland President Vianne Timmons’s office renovations. He asked, “Why don’t we take the next 60k and actually fix the issues ongoing with the campus?” He then stated, “I can definitely do this for under $60k. How many other lecture halls and classrooms are like this? But thank God for that shiny new science building! I’ve had moldy drywall fall on me for 7 straight weeks; maybe we should fix this instead of a refresher for the Queen’s castle, I mean office.”

Brooke King stated, “MUN has been falling apart for so long, there is only so much a bit of tape will do. It is definitely time for some basic renos in these buildings.”

Kyle Kinsella responded to Brooke, stating, “I remember being around 10 years ago with the bys, studying or whatnot, and it was shit then and is shit now.”

Evan Roberts said, “I started MUN in 2012, and I swear the majority of the plastic wrap and garbage are in the exact same place.”

Nicole Patricia said, “Tuition is doubling, but you still get rained on inside — very on brand.”

Robyn Parsons stated that she “literally had something fall on my hand like 2 weeks ago cause there’s like 5 missing ceiling tiles in one of my classes.”

Carrie Collins said, “This is actually ridiculous; she needs to go!!”

Amy Louise stated, “So [the] president of Memorial can get a new swanky office, along with her deliriously high paying job and perks (which she should be using to pay for herself considering any of my friends who are teachers make chicken feed AND have to supply their own classrooms), while the university itself is falling apart and students now have to pay double the tuition to attend.”

See below pictures Kyle Kinsella posted of infrastructure woes at MUN:

Matt Barter is a fourth-year student in the Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty at Memorial University of Newfoundland, majoring in Political Science with a minor in Sociology. He enjoys reading thought-provoking articles, walks in nature, and volunteering in the community.

MUN President blocks student for tweeting articles on her lavish office renovations

@vianne_timmons blocked you.

On October 23rd, Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) student Matt Barter (me) tweeted an article on President Vianne Timmons’s office renovations. Her response was to block me, which raises many concerns and questions: Does Vianne care about students as she tries to portray through the university’s public relations? Does Vianne block or censure all views that she disagrees with? Several members of the public weighed in.

The tweet that caused MUN President Vianne Timmons to block student.

Kelsey Vincent states, “Goes to show how ‘mature’ she is mentality wise. Can’t face the music at all.”

Catherine Pretty says, “Her words don’t match her actions at all!”

Brayden Lambe states the “lady spent like the equivalent of 3-4 people’s tuition on an office. It doesn’t matter where you go; NL seems to be a joke.”

Madonna Evoy says, “That’s no surprise, this is the direction these people wanted to go, using the internet to communicate, and they’re blocking people who want answers to questions they have… selectively inclusive.”

Sidney Crane states, “The MUN President is blocking people who talk about her massive waste of the school’s money on herself, f*****g pathetic.”

Amanda Green states, “If she can’t stand the heat, stay out of the (probably renovated) kitchen!”

Anne Ezekiel Noftall says, “She is just so childish.”

Mike Gulliver states, “Just another woke idiot. Gets a little bit of power and becomes the biggest hypocrite.”

@vianne_timmons blocked you.

Matt Barter is a fourth-year student in the Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty at Memorial University of Newfoundland, majoring in Political Science with a minor in Sociology. He enjoys reading thought-provoking articles, walks in nature, and volunteering in the community.

MUN President’s Care Conference 2021 speaking notes

MUN President Vianne Timmons.

On September 15th, 2021, Memorial University President Vianne Timmons gave a presentation at a conference titled “The economic and fiscal trajectory of Newfoundland and Labrador: We are here now, what should we do, how should we do it, and how long can we wait?” at the Signal Hill Campus.

Below are Timmons’s speaking notes:

Care Conference 2021 – 3:10 – Sept. 15, 2020

Memorial University: A university with a twist or two

Dr. Vianne Timmons

INTRODUCTION AND LAYOUT

• Memorial University: You are what Memorial is about – an institution that touches the lives of every Newfoundlander and Labradorian.

• Want with to start with a story – a young girl growing up in Labrador – me.

o Father and grandfather were miners

o Grandmother was taken out of school at a young age and went into service to help support the family

o My parents didn’t want that for me and my siblings – sacrificed so my siblings and I could go to university

o We all did and now here I am

o Everyone should be able to live that dream

• At the laying of the cornerstone of the new university campus in 1952, the minister of education said,

o “The mere act of creating a university is static, but the purposes of a university are dynamic.”

• We saw that dynamism during COVID, retention went up 5 per cent, professors did an amazing job

• Memorial University College began as a two-year junior college providing post-secondary education in the arts and sciences, and to improve teacher training.

• In 1949 we were elevated to university status to

o “encourage the preservation of the Newfoundland culture,”

o and to be an “active and energetic means to the economic development of Newfoundland – more than merely a centre of culture and learning.”

• Mose Morgan, Memorial’s 6th president, said Memorial must not be a replica of universities found elsewhere, saying

o “It is and must remain unique, with its roots deep in the traditions and needs of this province.”

• And as Dr. Gary Kachanoski, my predecessor, noted in his installation address,

o it was important to understand “the natural and unending process of transformation” of Memorial.

• So, while I could talk about the role of A university, it wouldn’t really apply to Memorial.

o Our origins,

o our place in the consciousness of the people of NL,

o our commitment to THIS place, makes our role as a university unique among post-secondary institutions.

o Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador, serves the whole province, founded to serve

• If you think about the role of a university, most of us would come up with basically the same things:

o Educating students; we shape the future

o Generating knowledge; transforming the future

o Fostering innovation; in the spirit of students

o Basic and applied research; research that transforms lives

• Memorial does all of that – and more; with a bit of a NL twist. That twist is Team Memorial –

o all of you who raised your hands

o all of our bright and energetic students (like Nathan, 2nd year business student, Secret Cove Brewery – micro-brewery in Lab City)

o all the people I’ve met since starting last April (nurses and residents in hospital in Happy Valley-Goose bay; aquaculture; MI in Lewisporte training seafarers)

o all the people throughout the province who benefit from the outreach and engagement of faculty and staff

o the connection of people to place that most universities don’t have

o We are all Team Memorial: people working together across our province, our world, for our futures.

• The role of Memorial in our province can be explained using four of the guiding themes in our new strategic plan, Transforming Our Horizons; they fit well

o Proactive programs

o Inspired learning

o Dynamic research

o Commitment to communities

• We offer inspired learning in proactive programs

o Our commitment to communities, and

o engaging with people in those communities ensures we conduct dynamic research that has local relevance but global reach.

• We offer inspired learning in proactive programs

o Our commitment to communities, and

o engaging with people in those communities ensures we conduct dynamic research that has local relevance but global reach.

• And that, in two sentences, is the role of OUR university.

• The benefits of our university, is another matter that I’ll get to in a bit (supporting entrepreneurship, Genesis)

PROACTIVE PROGRAMS

• Role #1: we offer proactive programs, educating global citizens for tomorrow’s needs.

• Universities educate students.

o For nearly 100 years, we’ve educated many generations of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians,

o providing them with tools to become leaders who shaped the province.

• That’s more than a simple education.

o It’s an important role upon which the social and economic health of our province has and continues to depend.

• It’s a Memorial twist:

o doctors, nurses, teachers, scientists, engineers, artists and performers

o the people who built this province and keep it running are mostly Memorial graduates.

• we are a world-class institution

o students come here because they know they will get a world-class education

o a survey of undergraduate applicants in 2020 showed that the main reason they applied to Memorial was because of our programs.

• offer a number of unique programs in a variety of disciplines, taught by exceptional professors.

o we offer Canada’s only master of business administration in social enterprise and entrepreneurship,

o and the only co-op program in ocean and naval architectural engineering in the world

• always have an eye to what NL needs; what we can provide to help it excel. So, we continue to renew and develop responsive programs, for example

o heard a lot today about the growth of the tech sector in NL

o three masters programs in technology;

•one – master of data science, has been approved by Senate and hope to have 25 students enrolled in Sept 2022

•two are still under development

•all are one-year graduate programs

•designed so students can quickly re-train (e.g, an engineer working in the oil industry) and specialize in areas of high demand for the tech industry

• Can’t tell what the future will bring;

o our new core science facility is designed in a way that acknowledges though we don’t know what tomorrow’s inventions might be, the new facility will be able to handle them

o built to be nimble, able to change

o core science facility offers teaching and learning spaces never seen before at Memorial.

o sitting in a lab or classroom is only one way to learn.

INSPIRED LEARNING

• Role #2: Memorial provides inspired learning with a vibrant in-person, enriched online focus.

• Through teaching and learning, universities support students in the pursuit of knowledge.

• But today’s students want more than tutorials and lectures; they want rich, experiential learning experiences.

• We want to ensure your kids and grand-kids get an international education

Experiential learning

• students at Memorial want to see the real-world relevance of their learning; they look for opportunities to apply their new knowledge and skills.

• Courses and programs that involve experiential learning

o enrich students’ experiences by introducing them to other perspectives and needs,

o providing them opportunity to contribute their knowledge and skills in support of public partners.

• A great example of this is our partnership with the East Coast Trail Association.

o students from various disciplines including

• the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences,

• the Faculty of Science,

• Student Life

• and the QE II Library

o helped map part of the trail from Topsail

o Outputs include:

• the translation of signage and web materials into German and other languages,

• the collection of geodata on the trail

• and the creation of an iOS application for hikers

o president of the ECTA said, “The long-term health and welfare of the East Coast Trail is a shared responsibility, and our partnership with Memorial is essential to our future.”

• sometimes these experiential learning opportunities change the course of a students’ academic or professional trajectory.

o Students don’t just support the economy but how we live in this province

o For example, business graduate Abigail Jeddore

o While at MUN she connected with her Indigenous heritage through the Indigenous Student Resource Centre

o also volunteered at First Light, a non-profit organization in St. John’s that provides services for Indigenous People

o now in law school and as a lawyer hopes to make a difference to Indigenous Peoples and other minorities.

• Through these learning opportunities, Memorial cultivates students who become active participants in their fields, communities and the wider world.

• The unique Memorial twist:

o we can leverage the university’s rich communities to help students explore opportunities and make connections

o Team Memorial strikes again.

Micro-credentials and remote learning

• unique geography in NL

o more than 270 communities spread over a land mass more than three times the total area of the Maritime Provinces,

o not everyone can make the trek to Corner Brook or St. John’s

• we need to be available to learners in cities, and in the coves and communities

• need to leverage our history as leaders in online learning,

o looking at continuing education, e-learning hubs, students in Lab City could take a 1st year course with students from all over

o open classrooms and programs to people throughout the province;

o and strengthen community-based learning needs.

• Expand experiential learning opportunities

o Micro-credentials; Typically, short courses to advance a skill set, hundreds offered by MI

o Bring people together from different parts of the province for online training – doesn’t have to be a degree!

• new online learning opportunity we’re proud of, MUN Up:

o created early in the pandemic as an online resource to house student supports and services to help prepare them for the remote learning environment

o recently honoured with the Atlantic Association of College and University Student Services Award of Excellence in Student Services for this initiative.

• also created MUN 101:

o introduces first-year students to Memorial before they set foot on campus

o an orientation and transition program to help first-year students adjust to university life, learn the ropes and become part of the community

o hopefully set them on the road to success.

DYNAMIC RESEARCH

• Role #3: Memorial is a leader in research with global reach and local relevance – areas of strength that reflect our history, culture and location.

Local and global research

• 64 researchers from Memorial are on the World’s Top 2% Scientists list

o Their work enriches the province, contributing to its long-term sustainability, with a global reach.

• So, just as we look forward as much as we look back; we look out as much as we look in.

• Much of Memorial’s research centres on addressing real-world problems in Newfoundland and Labrador

o results in an enormous wealth of knowledge in areas such as

• oceans and fisheries science,

•boreal forests,

• climate and harsh environments,

• among others.

• This niche research is transformed into solutions that support the local economy; then exported to assist similar communities globally.

• For example, the Marine Institute collaborates on projects around the world:

o from skills training for oil and gas in Tanzania,

o to safety in the fishing industry in the Philippines,

o to aquaculture in Indonesia

o reflects the fact that the identity and livelihood of NL is tied intricately to the sea.

Ocean research

• Over 40% of Memorial’s research is ocean-related; Marine Institute is doing incredible work

o partner with the Ocean Frontier Institute, a $220 million collaborative research initiative aimed at harnessing the vast potential of the world’s oceans

o also part of Canada’s Ocean Supercluster, a private-sector-led partnership using innovation and commercialization to drive sustainable economic growth from our oceans.

• With our history and physical location, we have emerged as full participants in the blue economy (the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth); and educating students who will be ready to tackle tomorrow’s needs

o world-renowned and longstanding oceans-related research, strategic focus for the future, targeted towards sustainability and stewardship of the resources;

o Green ship technology research in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science hopes to reduce energy consumption and environmental impacts;

o aquaculture can address global food insecurity and provides much needed jobs in remote, coastal areas of the province;

o building artificial reefs in Placentia Bay is creating new fish habitats;

o and millions have been invested in minimizing the impact of oil spills.

• Tackling climate change/green technology:

o Unlike most other Canadian universities, Memorial places an emphasis on the offshore industry.

o The engineering faculty has a plan to expand its programs into offshore wind and marine energy, should demand dictate

o expect that shift to happen in the next five to six years

• Mysa, founded by Memorial alumni, Genesis graduate, smart thermostats for electric heaters, in 2018 became first carbon-neutral company from Newfoundland and Labrador: plug for Mysa – I bought them! Expanding into air conditioning

• SmartICE: world’s first climate change adaptation tool combining traditional knowledge and advanced technology; training and employing local youth as producers, operators and technicians of the technology; visited them in Niain, amazing things happening

• Addressing global challenge of e-waste, electronic garbage:

o Josh Lepawsky, global expert on e-waste,

o only Canadian asked by the UN to be part of an initiative to solve the e-waste problem world-wide;

o work has led to revised international policies and recycling certification

• Growing research strength in agriculture at Grenfell Campus,

o environmental and agriculture research is attracting international students

o Ever heard of the Functional Foods Sensory Lab? It examines natural or processed food products with known health benefits beyond basic nutritional needs, such as the antioxidants in blueberries

o Work has included a study of moose and caribou meat that has uncovered previously unknown benefits of these products – aren’t you all happy about that?

Research with social aspects

• Another aspect of Memorial’s role as the province’s only university;

o research is committed to supporting not only industries, but solving social issues unique to, or overrepresented in, NL.

• As such, Memorial is responsible for some of the most important breakthroughs in areas such as public health and housing.

• For example, patients and health-care practitioners around the world can thank a Memorial medical team for a pioneering breakthrough

o one that is helping save the lives of those affected by a deadly “Newfoundland curse.”

o research team made the groundbreaking discovery and treatment of sudden cardiac death syndrome.

o their life-saving screening methods and preventative treatments are being implemented in other countries and saving lives of those affected by a deadly genetic disease.

Looking ahead

• Not resting on our laurels but always looking ahead:

o embarking on a new innovation strategy process that will cover

• programming,

• social and cultural innovation,

• entrepreneurship and innovation-driven research

• next step in the university’s commitment to promoting the advancement of innovation in the province.

• We might be nearing our 100 anniversary, but we’re bursting with energy and new ideas

o We will build our on ocean strengths to lead in the blue economy

o We will support entrepreneurs who are starting innovative companies and employing thousands in NL

COMMITMENT TO COMMUNITES

• Which brings us to role #4 – our commitment to communities and engaging others in all that we do.

• There is a global movement towards emphasizing public engagement at universities.

• At Memorial, we have a long tradition of public engagement, starting with our special obligation to the people of the province.

o reflected in the early work of the university relating to marine biology,

o to our English program and the creation of the Dictionary of Newfoundland English,

o to being an early leader in tele-medicine.

• Many other Canadian universities struggle with the challenge of connecting their activities to their communities.

o at Memorial, it is not just a standard aspiration; it’s a core value, defines who we are

o and not only on paper

o it defines who we are

o it’s our own special twist.

• Our commitment to communities can be seen in initiatives large and small, are found across the institution, including:

o degree programs that respond to specific needs in the province in areas like education, health, engineering and social work

o non-degree offerings that develop professional and personal skills (micro-credentials)

o collaborations with the people of the province to build capacity for community-led development

o research programs that involve public partners and respond to needs of the province, focusing on problems of specific relevance to NL in areas like the fishery, oceans and marine technology, culture and art, health and wellness

Transformation of economies

• Memorial plays an integral role in the revitalization and transformation of economies.

• As part of its unique mandate, Memorial plays an outsized role in supporting the continuity and evolution of small towns, rural communities and regions through specialized programming.

• In this role, Memorial directly engages with communities to envision their future; and to allow communities to draw on the resources of Memorial to turn ideas into reality.

• The Harris Centre’s Thriving Regions Partnership Process is a great example of this type of hands-on support we provide to communities.

o The program works with communities to bring regions together to examine challenges and priorities,

o and help them connect with researchers in developing real solutions to real problems.

• And imagine this!

• A professor can bring in $1 million in research funding, what if we hired 20?

• The university has grown to be an integrated part of the environment of the province, but in many ways, so integrated that it’s easily taken for granted.

BENEFITS

• Time to acknowledge the benefits of Memorial to our communities; can only scratch the surface here as I only have half an hour…

• The university is a significant contributor to the local and provincial economy.

• How significant?

o Eight years ago an economic impact report was released; it’s a bit dated but some key points:

o more than $1 billion of the province’s annual GDP (or 3.1 % of the total provincial GDP in 2012), could be attributed to the university

• We asked KPMG to prepare a new economic impact assessment; we hope to release next month, so stay tuned for more good news.

• But a sneak peak:

• Memorial is an incubator for unique research that enables industry and addresses social accountability, both at home and around the world

• Memorial is a hub connecting people, ideas and resources critical for success.

• Demographic challenge? We’re the solution, play an integral role in the province’s immigration strategy by attracting and retaining international students to live long-term in NL

o Almost 3,500 international students at Memorial; they contribute more than their business smarts: inject $82 million annually into the province.

• Researchers and research funding contribute millions to our economy. How so?

o Faculty brought in $160 million last year in research funding – that’s money that otherwise would not be here

• From the economic impact study I mentioned earlier?

o It reported a $366 million annual impact on the province due to increased earnings of Memorial degree recipients who remain in the province

o alumni, like many of you, making Newfoundland and Labrador a vibrant place to work, live and grow.

CONCLUSION

Ultimately, it is the people that are Memorial that support our roles and responsibilities of being the province’s only university – Team Memorial.

• Memorial’s greatest strength is its people

• we are unified in our commitment to Memorial, to education making a difference in the economy

• Circle back to the young girl in Labrador who wanted to change her life

o University did that for me and my siblings and our kids

o We didn’t have to go into service ot the mines

• We shape the future, we touch the future of Newfoundland and Labrador, we touch every aspect, socially and culturally.

• You want your university to be strong and we’re committed to that.

• We are a university for the province, the world and the future. And I can’t wait to see what that brings.

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Matt Barter is a fourth-year student in the Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty at Memorial University of Newfoundland, majoring in Political Science with a minor in Sociology. He enjoys reading thought-provoking articles, walks in nature, and volunteering in the community.

MUN President’s lavish office renovations turn the stomachs of many

MUN President Vianne Timmons.

Memorial University of Newfoundland President Vianne Timmons has received a lot of criticism on social media for spending over $50K to renovate her office.

Lynda Renée Wilson says, “A lot of food banks could have fed a lot of people with that money.”

Tracey Drover says, “that kind of Shit Boils my Blood!!!! Gross waste of taxpayers’ money!!”

Cayden Joy states, “Vianne is proof that capitalism sucks, the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer.”

Jodi Dawe says, “This is outrageous! My daughter is in her last year of high school, and MUN isn’t on her list of universities that she is going to be applying to. This saddens me. Timmons should be ashamed of herself, but we all know she’s not.”

Helen Hodge Savoury states, “She needs to go… must be some nice expensive chair she is sitting in… I think us, the taxpayers, who are footing this bill, need to see the pictures of her new office.”

Natalie Rowe says that Timmons “sees nothing wrong with it because she knows it will be paid for her with her price increase; she feels she deserves it since she’s the reason they’re charging more.”

Cindy Cox asks why Timmons couldn’t go to Walmart to purchase items for her office. She states that Timmons “isn’t royalty and spending money that doesn’t belong to her.” She then says regarding Timmons, “You are not the person for this job.”

Robert Parsons says, “Dad didn’t spend that on his kitchen, and he had professional cabinets and all brand-new appliances installed…”

Elsie Beaver states that a can of paint cost less than $30.00.

Sheila Champion asks, “Her office renovation? Are you kidding me?” She then says that “I just did a full house renovation, and it didn’t cost me that much.”

Adam says, “Couple licks of paint and a few trips to Winners, I would have had it renovated for a couple grand.”

Steve Blackwood states, “the issue here isn’t really the cost of building materials and labour in today’s marketplace… the price tag probably isn’t unreasonable given the current climate for building. The issue is, given the fact that tuition costs are set to double, should the president of the university, who already earns more than most, be renovating at all? Leaders lead by example, or good ones do at least, and a good leader in the case would have likely passed up on something that was likely an unnecessary expense, if for no other reason than to show if these tuition hikes are necessary, then she is willing to do her part for being fiscally responsible as well. Keep in mind; this wasn’t her own money; she was spending… if nothing else, it demonstrates that she is completely unsympathetic to the plight facing young people in our province today and for years to come. Is that the right person for this job? I hardly think so.”

Elizabeth Hill says, “Meanwhile, the main elevator in Arts and Administration [building] has been out of order for over a year. Glad she has a new office, though.”

Jim Cheeseman states, “Right there is what’s wrong with this province, and really the entire country, people feeling entitlement and damn the hard-working taxpayers. Hope the students ask for an explanation of this spending.”

Catherine Lahey says Timmons “should be stopped, this extravagant spending in all forms of government is disgusting we all should revolt against it, don’t blame anyone for feeling mad.”

Chloe Briand says that she “could have paid off my first degree and my next degree with that money! Must be nice!”

Carol Fitzpatrick says, “That’s just a gross mismanagement of funds. Disgusting!

Brianna Barrett says that an MTV cribs tour of her office is needed for the price that was spent renovating it. Keith Doran recommends that NTV do a feature on it and that they could even start a show called “NTV Cribs.” Alex Osmond agrees and suggests that it could be narrated by Ross Tilley and Ed Swain.

Roxanne Dawe says, “OMG disgusting this is not okay with her wage she should pay her own renos instead of taking. We in a frigging no-win with school hikes, groceries, gas, light bills. Timmons needs get a cut in wages, getting too much to keep her.”

Trixie Sullivan states, “It’s a real slap in the face to the people of this province to know that our Premier Furey thinks Newfoundlanders are not capable or educated enough to be an administrator of our own MUN. I really thought when he was first elected, he was going to work keeping the best interest of the people of this province in mind. He’s no better than the rest. Paying out this big salary to Ms. Timmons plus all the extras just doesn’t sit well with the people of this province. We are tired of giving away our hard-earned money. We had more taxes levied on us just yesterday on sugar drinks. This is just the beginning. Perhaps the first step in taxing us on anything made with sugar… cookies, jams, other groceries. That will probably come next year!! When does it stop? We are taxed to death! I don’t blame our young people when they get out of here to live and work somewhere else. I know how hard it is for people to live in Newfoundland with the cost of living so high. It makes me upset to see how our government can squander exorbitant amounts of money away unnecessarily, e.g., decorating an office while raising student tuition and taxes to help pay the cost for this squandering. It doesn’t sit well with the people in this province Mr. Furey. I actually thought he was going to be better than the rest; I’ve changed my mind!”

Crystal Lee says, “She [Timmons] should have to ‘refresh’ her office, just like the teachers in our province are expected to fund their classrooms. I bet she wouldn’t need the refresh then.”

Elizabeth Hunter states, “I’m sure there is a qualified Newfoundlander who could fill her position for half the money and do a better job. Overrated and overpaid. Taxpayers’ hard-earned money, when are we going to learn?”

Mackenzie Oates says, “Funny. Her office ‘refresh’ cost more than MUN pays for these positions in one whole year…” and shared a picture of accounting positions advertised at MUN.

Mackenzie Oates picture.

Jamie Mac states, “This is really disgusting and an affront to the struggling students who attend. People should remove that school from the list of prospective schools and see what a decline in enrollment does to her salary. Appalling.”

Maddie Melina says, “I am not paying tuition every year to pay for a $60k soundproof office. Meanwhile, faculty are struggling to find space for members, and some of us are stuck in broom closet-sized lab spaces because there is no space for us. Well, I found where all the space goes. Waste of money, the entire university needs a ‘refresh.'”

Sulaiman El-Shorbagi says, “Seriously, this is a f*****g joke, about six students could have done their degrees with that amount she spent on ‘refreshing’ her office. This is corruption and misuse of funds at its finest, and they wonder why everyone is leaving NL.”

Deanne Quinton says, “My son is a student at MUN and can’t even get his Ethernet fixed in his dorm room on MUN Campus, and she gets a 60K office? WTF!!”

Loretta McDonald states, “Unreal! This province will never get ahead at this rate. Big fat waste of money at the top and poor people struggling to feed their children at the bottom.”

Sarah Ryder says, “I don’t know whether to react angrily or shocked at this. I’m a student, and this disgusts me! Of all the things that need desperate attention out there, like working elevators for students, the refresh was not necessary…”

Elaine Wells states, “I think it’s time for the people of the province to be the ones making the decisions on the pay rates for these people instead of boards and governments. It’s ridiculous, and it’s like they don’t have common sense anymore.”

Mary Cole says “She [Timmons] should be setting an example, not spending more money. If the kids have to tighten their belts, shouldn’t the president have to as well?”

Delores Strickland states, “Spending money like it’s hers [Timmons’s] but really it’s the money from, I got to say the students of MUN, who is paying for her luxury lifestyle, while the cost of a degree is going up. Shame on you, while students are trying to better themselves in life but it’s a big price tag to pay to get an education, one question I got to ask the MUN president, did you have to pay so much in cost for tuitions etc. as for the students are paying for now? You are living the dream spending money like it’s nothing while students are putting themselves more in debt and dealing with depression, anxiety, and mental health. But when they get out, they got to find a job to pay off this enormous debt while you sit back and be MUN President.”

Rick Carrigan says, “When will we realize the ones in the big positions don’t give a rats ass about where the province goes financially as long as they get to do what they want and get their fat salaries. Don’t worry about it; it’s only taxpayer’s money, no big deal.”

Tracy Clements Flight states, “This is outrageous. It’s insane to think the amount of money that’s invested into this woman’s employment while our MUN students that grew up here in NL struggle daily trying to pay tuition, eat, clothe, and put a roof over their heads while attending MUN. Most of whom are working part-time jobs and, after they graduate, are left with hefty student loans to pay! This woman and whoever provided this salary and ‘extra’ benefits should be ashamed of themselves.”

Des Drake says, “But yet if you work in childcare or a teacher setting, you spend your own money putting supplies in the classroom. Sure, makes a difference when you use students’ money… who needs 60k for an office? That’s ridiculous.”

Hubert Butt says, “She should be made to pay the cost out of her own salary.”

Josh Butt says, “More than double a minimum wage worker’s yearly salary to update an office. $60k to update an office. I could renovate my entire home for $60k. I could do SO MUCH with $60k. A LOT of people could. But this ‘human’ sees nothing wrong with $60k to ‘refresh’ her office? Who in their right mind EVER thought this ‘human’ would be a smart choice for a leadership role??? Why is every leader rich but still greedy for more???”

Helen R Snook states, “Under any circumstance, this is a gross waste of money. I’m sure the office was fine. A new chair, a good clean and a few plants were certainly adequate, especially since many teachers in this province have spent hundreds, if not thousands, over a thirty-year period on supplies for their class. Glue, paper etc. No joke!”

William David Bennett says, “Just another case of those at the top feeling like they are “entitled” to whatever they want.”

Lynn Learning says, “Disgusting. That’s not even mentioning all the money she spent on personal fitness equipment and trainers, on students’ dime.”

Jessica Philpott states, “that sounds like such an abuse of power. So used to spending the money, so they do. Maybe they don’t want to lose the budget in the future, so they spend it… Shameful and abusive.”

Brandon Small says, “So let me get this straight: a $60K remodel for an office that wasn’t necessary? All that money could have been divided to charities. Even if they gave HALF, that would have been a great contribution to food banks rather than in her cushiony office.”

Vladimir Andrade states, “As an international student, it’s a shame to see all other STEMs besides Medicine and Engineering get all these funds. All the time being told that there’s no money for the others to get improved buildings/labs/resources while this woman uses my money, so she feels more comfortable. My mental health is at an all-time low while she lives in luxury. Disappointing.”

Brent Brockway says, “Imagine spending more than the average annual Canadian salary on your office renovations…”

Carla McIsaac states, “If this is accurate, she needs to pay for those renovations. Pretty certain she could have done her job with the office as it was.  INFURIATING.”

Michael Gulliford says, “This is what’s wrong with today’s society, people in power spending, (wasting) money that everyone else has to pay for…  Not fit…”

Candace Rideout states, “Unless the roof is caving in, there is really no need. $60,000? Do you have any idea how many homeless/low-income families, single mothers, disabled individuals this could help? And what about that $500,000 a year salary? How is that justified?”

Whitney Mary-Ann Penney says, “It’s crazy! I have a year and a half of nursing school to finish, and with the tuition increase, it will be much more difficult. Then reading stuff like this. It’s enough to turn ya guts!!”

Christopher Abbo Abbott states, “Who got laid off I wonder… that’s a year salary for many people in this city who are also struggling to make ends meet. Not sure how people like her and many others sleep at night. Few gallons of paint are less than a hundred-dollar bill… new desk with a lamp, suppose it’s only another few hundred-dollar bills. Throw in a really nice chair like one advertised on TV, pictures, trinkets and furniture from winners, is no more than six crisp hundred dollar bills. And make the best of it; she probably works from home.”

Kelsey Vinnicombe says, “Bags of salt for the sidewalks probably cost less than $60,000… or maybe we can renovate lecture halls where larger students get bruises from the small seats, make education accessible and affordable.”

Jacob Riche asks, “How about the walls in the Arts building get fixed? How about we get elevators functioning again (so that students/professors with mobility challenges can get to their classes)? How about we fix a dozen other projects before we spend $60k on AN OFFICE?! I’m disgusted.”

Lloyd Hillier says, “Maybe if this person [Timmons] had to answer to a number of students live on TV, she might consider her actions for future expenditures. No accountability and abuse of position.”

Sarah Kerrivan says, “$60k for office renovations and the university ‘can’t’ find the money for accommodations, and fix the elevators in buildings (and so much more)??? This is ridiculous.”

Kendra Lydia Blanche says, “we can’t even protest because she’ll take our signs down.” 

Vanessa asks Timmons, “Do you feel gratitude for being paid enough to blow $60K on an office ‘refresh’ while everyone around you struggles to put food on the table?”

Matt Barter is a fourth-year student in the Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty at Memorial University of Newfoundland, majoring in Political Science with a minor in Sociology. He enjoys reading thought-provoking articles, walks in nature, and volunteering in the community.

MUN President prioritizes herself over students

MUN President Vianne Timmons and a student walking in the MUNnels systerm.

On October 20th, 2021, Memorial University of Newfoundland tweeted to respond to the release of the costs of President Vianne Timmons’s office renovations: “A recently released ATIPP request focused on the costs associated with refurbishing the president’s office. This project had a budget of $57,980 (time and materials). It included work in six office spaces.”

Then they followed up with another tweet: “Electrical upgrades, replacing some fixtures that dated back to the 1960s, replacing flooring and aligning with COVID-19 requirements. A key component of the project was creating an area for shared administrative services which will reduce costs long term.”

MUN received a lot of backlash for their tweets.

Dean Bavington said, “It is not that the Prez office is being refurbished, it is what is NOT happening ALL OVER campus where much refurbishment is DESPERATELY needed but has been DEFERRED. We lack safe TEACHING/LEARNING infrastructure, spaces that do not make people sick. Contradictions mounting…”

Vladimir asked, “So the Computer Science department is still going to be shoved into the engineering building, hey?” They then stated, “All that refurbishing, and you can’t properly allocate space to your departments. But those office spaces and the president’s office need to be refurbished.”

Doug Long stated, “We hear much about the crumbling infrastructure at MUN and rising costs for students, yet the president spends $58,000.00 on her office refurbishing. Just one more Newfie joke – but this is NOT funny!”

A student in the MUNnels.

Twitter user @hayleyfrcanada stated, “$60k to make the president’s office look pretty while these are the conditions that your students who pay to live on campus have to deal with?” referring to a video where a student is walking through water to go to class.

Twitter user @GreatAuk709 stated, “@MemorialU you folks just don’t get it. Expect leaders like your president to make better decisions. The University infrastructure is crumbling, but your focus is on the PRESIDENTAIL suite. Don’t defend the indefensible. Expect better.”

Student Rachel Hawco asked, “how is this institution this out of touch? MUN justifies a tuition hike by saying there’s a lack of finances but can find room for a $60K office update while other buildings are half falling apart. It’s just when are they gonna decide to put STUDENTS first?”

Student Jessica Marie said that “the older buildings [are] leaking and literally falling down. During a zoom lesson last year, a chunk of ceiling tile fell behind our prof.”

Rebecca Howie said, “meanwhile, in the munnels” and shared a picture of a sign in the MUNnel system titled “ASBESTOS CONTAINING.

In the MUNnels.

Jay said, “you gotta be kidding me. This school is a joke, it’s like at this point they’re purposefully wasting the money. I guarantee there is not a single student that will benefit from this, but Timmons is gonna get a new office where she can continue to waste more money.”

Vladimir weighed in again and stated, “That’s nice. So, when is the Math Building not gonna be a death trap? When are the elevators going to work properly? Too broke from that new building hey? How about you fix the areas the STUDENTS use!”

Twitter user @jnp709 said, “Sure I got 60s fixtures in my place, and they are right deadly.” They then posted a picture of a light fixture in her house and said, “Look at this gem! Ain’t it a beaut?”

@jnp709’s light fixture in their home.

Justin stated, “The university must spend a ridiculous amount of money on condescending PR. A large portion of this was on furniture, including ‘art’ and an area rug that were nearly $2K between them. Meanwhile, buckets to catch leaks in the tunnels.”

Twitter user @GreatAuk709 commented again, “the MUN president is out of touch with reality. The largess is infuriating. Time for a change. This cannot continue. She is an embarrassment to the institution.”

Twitter user @MudderLori said, “Daughter (current MUN student) said today ‘She’s not a very good president, but she’ll be the most memorable. But not for the reasons she wants’. Yup.”

Matt Barter is a fourth-year student in the Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty at Memorial University of Newfoundland, majoring in Political Science with a minor in Sociology. He enjoys reading thought-provoking articles, walks in nature, and volunteering in the community.

MUN hires Dean of Libraries with over $170K salary

Dr. Dianne Keeping.

A recently obtained ATIPP request reveals the salary of Memorial University of Newfoundland’s new Dean of Libraries, Dr. Dianne Keeping, at $172,106.

The appointment is effective January 10th, 2022, and may be renewed for a further period of time up to five years.

Along with her appointment as Dean of Libraries, Ms. Keeping was also appointed as Librarian IV with tenure.

The university will be covering 100 percent of the costs of moving Ms. Keeping’s household goods and furnishings. Additionally, the university will also be covering the cost of shipping her vehicle and any costs related to storage or personal or professional effects.

The cost of travel will be covered for Ms. Keeping, her spouse, children, and pets. Along with travel, the costs of meals and temporary accommodations will also be covered.

Familiarization/house hunting trips will also be covered for Ms. Keeping and her spouse.

A reimbursement of up to $25,000 will be provided for real estate and legal fees associated with the move.

The Dean of Libraries reports to the Provost, and an annual report on activities and outcomes is to be submitted to the Provost.

A strategic work plan for her five-year term as Dean is to be developed in collaboration with the Provost in the first two months of appointment. It is to be updated annually and serve as a framework for annual plans.

See ATIPP files below:

Matt Barter is a fourth-year student in the Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty at Memorial University of Newfoundland, majoring in Political Science with a minor in Sociology. He enjoys reading thought-provoking articles, walks in nature, and volunteering in the community.

Minister of Education being dishonest or selective in statements on tuition, says professor 

MUN Professor Dr. Erwin Warkentin.

Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) Communications and German studies professor Dr. Erwin Warkentin weighs in on statements made by the Minister of Education Tom Osborne on tuition at MUN.

Warkentin says “Osborne is not being particularly truthful in his response or incredibly selective in what he says. MUN had been told repeatedly that their funding was going to be cut. Thus, they came forward with a plan to raise tuition. This is on the government and not MUN. They just want to blame MUN and not own up to their own responsibility in all of this.

One thing I learned in the PWE [Political Warfare Executive] file about interrogating prisoners is this, when a subject starts with a statement like “I can only speak the truth, and the truth is…” the odds are very high that they are not telling the truth.”

Matt Barter is a fourth-year student in the Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty at Memorial University of Newfoundland, majoring in Political Science with a minor in Sociology. He enjoys reading thought-provoking articles, walks in nature, and volunteering in the community.

MUN President spends over $50K on office renovations

MUN President Vianne Timmons and her office.

A recently obtained ATIPP reveals that Memorial University of Newfoundland President Vianne Timmons spent over $50K renovations for her office. The original project budget was $44,800, but then it was increased to $54,450.

The total budget was then increased by $3,530 to $57,980 to finish the remaining work of the addition of sound masking elements and additional furniture pieces.

ATIPP files below:

Pictures titled “Before and After.”

Matt Barter is a fourth-year student in the Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty at Memorial University of Newfoundland, majoring in Political Science with a minor in Sociology. He enjoys reading thought-provoking articles, walks in nature, and volunteering in the community.